The CAC serves a vital function and must be preserved
July 1, 2001 By Pulp & Paper Canada
Sir:For the past 20 years, Canada has effectively maintained the Chairmanship and Secretariat of Technical Committee 6 (Paper, Board and Pulps) of the International Organization for Standardization (I…
For the past 20 years, Canada has effectively maintained the Chairmanship and Secretariat of Technical Committee 6 (Paper, Board and Pulps) of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). However, in the autumn of 2000, funds directed toward this activity were significantly cut back. This will result in Canada relinquishing the chairmanship of ISO/TC6, and the likely demise of the Canadian Advisory Committee (CAC) to ISO. It is certainly worth evaluating the risks associated with this recent action.
Many pulp and paper producing nations around the world have stepped up their involvement with respect to the development of international standards. In Europe, for example, the CEN has been particularly busy. Equally as progressive has been the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) in the US. The Canadian industry seems to be choosing a different strategy.
It should be mentioned that the original, noble intent of creating international standards was to facilitate trade. And most standards do. The dark side, however, is that standards can be misused to influence the marketplace, and in the worst cases act as barriers to trade.
Having the chairman of ISO/TC6 from Canada over those many years has proven extremely advantageous as it has allowed our industry to keep on top of potential obstructions to the trade of pulp and paper. Moreover, our CAC “watchdogs” have been able to alert industry to potentially damaging draft standards such as paper permanence, and the original method proposed to measure the dirt count in recycled pulps, to name but two recent examples.
Who has the most at stake? One could easily argue that the Canadian pulp, paper and forest industry, with its heavy dependence on exports, has the most at risk by not actively participating in international standards development.
On behalf of the Canadian Advisory Committee, I would recommend that funding be reinstated so that the TC6 Chairmanship may be retained in Canada, and that the operations of the CAC be continued.
W. Robert Wood
Chairman – Canadian Advisory Committee to ISO/TC6
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